"Ghost" Targets LA Businesses

A burglar that authorities have nicknamed "The Ghost" has broken into more than forty Los Angeles businesses in the past few months.

The attacks have been happening since mid-July and have all been in the San Fernando Valley, specifically along Ventura or Topanga Canyon boulevards. The farthest north has been Sherman Way.

Up until now, the police did not have much to go on in this string of robberies; Lt. Paul Weber, commanding officer of the Topanga Detective Division, explained that the only thing that they knew about his appearance was that he wore a hood and gloves. Now, however, they have security footage which shows him to be an Asian male in his twenties.

The footage also shows that "The Ghost" is a very cautious thief; he is shown hiding at the sight of any passing car lights, sometimes not coming out of his hiding place for as long as half an hour. He gets into buildings by smashing their windows and locks.

One of the businesses victimized by this phantom is Franklin Hardware, a family business that opened in 1952. The break-in at Franklin Hardware happened on October 4, 2017, sometime between 3:30 AM and 4:30 AM. The burglar stole $600 and caused about $1,000 worth of damages; also, a garbage disposal was stolen.

“It’s not the $600 or whatever,” said the business' co-owner, Michael Kurzeka. “I don’t care. It’s the principle.”

He added that his business was also burglarized in July, but he is not sure if "The Ghost" was behind that one too. Either way, he says that he hopes that the police get the culprit and that he is glad that they are taking this situation seriously.

Police have offered several strategies to try and prevent these break-ins. They have been educating local business owners, conducting stakeouts, using decoy cars and undercover officers and looking into burglar parolees in the area. Many businesses now have "no cash on premises" signs in their windows.

Kurzeka adds his own advice to business owners, telling them not to bother locking things that do not really need it. As he notes, it is not worth "The Ghost" damaging your $200 cash register only to steal $10 in change.

Anyone with information about this case should call the Topanga Detective Division at 818-756-5844 and ask for Detective Amber Kim, or anonymously call Crimestoppers at 800-222-8477.


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